Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats and raw materials. That isn't the case for omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fats. Your body cannot make these from scratch and you need to get them from foods. Some foods that are high in omega-3s are fish, nuts (especially walnuts), vegetable oils, flaxseed and leafy vegetables. So what makes omega-3s so special? They provide a starting point for the release of hormones that regulate blood clotting, the contraction and relaxation of arterial walls, and inflammation. Likely due to these effects, studies continue to show how omega-3 fats can prevent heart disease and stroke, can help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and play a protective role against cancers and other conditions. The strongest evidence of its benefits has to do with the prevention of heart disease, but more research continues to show a multitude of other benefits. Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). In the United States, our values of DHA and EPA are found to be much lower than those of countries with lower heart disease rates such as Japan. Living in the Midwest, it can be fairly expensive to maintain a diet high in fresh fish. Cold, deep water fish contain the highest amount of omega-3s, where as fish such as walleye, crappie and perch tend to have much lower amounts. If you know your diet lacks a strong quantity of omega-3s, taking a daily supplement will help you fill that void. Not only will this help keep your heart healthy, but will also give you all of the other health benefits these fats provide.
Dr. Andy Johnson